Students plan to join United States gun violence walkout

Lorie Shaull

While those who attend the Colorado high school stay home to remember the lives lost in the tragedy, students at schools all across the country, including those in some Orlando-area school districts, will leave class to push for gun control.

In the midst of their grief, the student survivors of the Stoneman Douglas massacre have banded together and inspired a new student-led push for gun reform, with nationwide events such as school walkouts and the March for Our Lives rallies.

Students are walking out of schools to protest inaction from lawmakers against gun violence.

When Lane Murdock, a high school sophomore, heard that 17 high school students and educators had been killed in a shooting in Parkland, Fla., she says she felt numb.

Students in Waukee, Urbandale and Johnston have also planned walkouts for Friday.

Basilone said she hopes Friday's demonstration will be more successful than the last.

Friday's walkouts come almost one month after rallies were held nationwide as part of the "March for Our Lives" movement, organized by survivors of the February 14 Parkland school shooting.

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On Columbine's 19-year anniversary, students who are participating will walk out of school at 10 a.m., according to National School Walkout's website.

"We want students to make responsible decisions while understanding that sometimes decisions have consequences", wrote Dublin High School Principal Maureen Byrne in an email.

"The safety of all students is a high priority at Manhattan High School, and while we also want to be supportive of students' voices regarding this topic we can not endorse a march off of the school campus", Hoyt wrote to parents. They will be excused from class as long as they have a note from a parent or guardian requesting an early dismissal, according to a letter from Penn Hills High School Principal Eric Kostic. "We will replace them with representatives who will reflect the will of the people, and keep public safety as their priority", Voter for Our Lives said.

Covington has been in touch with both the police department and sheriff's department to have extra presence at Scott County Park, where students will march, as well as on campus at the high school. Most held a vigil and demonstration on school grounds, and then went back to class.

Students have indeed resisted the temptation to "sit idly by", and apparently have ensured that the questions surrounding guns and gun rights will not fade into the background again, as they so often have in the aftermath of mass shootings. Thirteen students and one teachers were killed, along with the gunmen. "This idea that somehow older people are more knowledgeable of the political system, really is not necessarily the case". Organizers on April 16 submitted the paperwork necessary for a special events permit, which is required for any gathering that includes more than 100 people.

Only 39 percent of teens said that allowing teachers to carry guns at school would effectively prevent shootings. Given the history of school shootings, it is fitting to make this protest about Columbine to show how little has changed in almost 20 years. Morse said. "Isn't that what we're here for?"

Students have worked closely with district officials to orchestrate the event, as well as other schools planning similar rallies, he said.

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